Why Finding Life Insurance for HIV Positive Individuals Just got Easier
Prudential Financial Inc., is one of the Country’s biggest life insurers, which makes it extremely exciting news that they will offer their traditional life insurance policies to eligible people who have HIV. This is a condition, which for decades has excluded the majority of people from being able to attain even the smallest amount of coverage. This is the first of this offering to be provided by a major US insurer, and it indicates that recognition of AIDS and HIV is evolving from a certain death sentence to a chronic disease that can be controlled and managed.
The Reality of HIV-Positive People in the US
In the US, over 1.2 million people live with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, according to data provided by the US Centers for Disease Control. Around 50,000 are diagnosed with the illness every year. However, the life expectancy for those living with HIV is on the rise to the point now that many Canadian and American citizens who are diagnosed with HIV early on can live well into their 70s. There is still no cure for it, which requires the disciplined adherence to medication to survive. Additionally, the longer AID’s and HIV patients live, the larger the risk of them developing other health conditions such as kidney, heart, and liver disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.
What Type of Coverage Will Be Offered?
The coverage will come in the form of either a 10 or 15-year term life insurance policy that is just like a standard policy except that it is made available to those who are HIV-positive who does not have any other health issues. These policies will also have the option of being convertible, meaning that can be turned into a permanent policy that covers the span of a person’s life.
Statement From Prudential Vice President
In a statement given by the vice president of Prudential, Mike McFarland, he stated, “with advances in the successful treatment of people with HIV, we are now able to offer this population the opportunity to apply for life insurance—a milestone we see as a significant step in the right direction.” As of yet there have been no further details provided on what the specific criteria will be for HIV positive patients to qualify for a life insurance policy. Additionally, no further information has been given on the pricing of the policies. However, it can be assumed that the coverage will be higher than for those people who are entirely healthy.
How is Prudential Offering Coverage?
Prudential partnered with AEQUALIS, which is a financial services startup that specifically serves HIV-positive people by extensively researching life expectancy, medical underwriting, and other such data on AIDS and HIV positive people. They have been instrumental in the development of the life insurance product that will be offered to HIV-positive people. The startup will continue to give information to both insurance agents and consumers, as well as take over the application process for HIV-Positive People from Prudential.
Previous Life Insurance Environment
Life insurance companies have traditionally covered people with other severe diseases such as Hepatitis C and cancer at a significantly higher price than those people who are healthy. However, traditionally HIV-positive people were not able to purchase an individual life insurance policy, besides ones that provided minimal coverage, no matter what the price. That being said, those that suffer from HIV or AIDS cannot be excluded from guaranteed issue group policies legally, and so people who are employed by a company that offers this type of plan can obtain life insurance. Though, typically these do not pay out more than $50,000.
Before Prudential, there have been some life insurance companies that have discretely experimented with providing policies to people with HIV. However, the criteria to qualify have been tough to meet. Potential qualifiers are required to be on antiretroviral treatments since first being diagnosed that are considered notably aggressive. They are also required to confirm that their viral loads are undetectable and that they meet a specific CD4 lymphocyte count, as well as a slew of other health requirements. Additionally, only those under a certain age qualify. Because of these stringent conditions, the majority of HIV-positive applicants do not qualify. On the other hand, Prudential plans to be much more lenient.
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